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3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers

3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

“You don’t have to be great to start making videos on YouTube, but you do have to start making videos in order to be great!”

~Sam Seavey, The Blind Life

3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers

Have I got a treat for you today! Recently I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite YouTubers, Sam Seavey of The Blind Life. During my conversation with Sam, I asked him what advice would he give to an aspiring blind videomaker and guess what? Yup, he made a video—how cool is that?

Just last week I featured one of Sam’s videos about a friend of mine, Libby Thaw. In Plane Pulling for Sight, Libby was raising money for Orbis Flying Eye Hospital. If you recall, in this post, Libby had to raise $2,500 to enter the event and I’m so happy to report she did it!!! As a matter of fact, here’s a little blurb of hers that popped up on Facebook:

Just a quick post to say that the Orbis Plane Pull event was a very moving day for me! I looked smashing, as you can see, while I mingled with the crowd. I told people that I was going to pull the plane all by myself, and asked if they’d help on the off chance I couldn’t move it. Look how many people jumped in to help!

Libby Thaw

Back To Tips For Blind Videomakers

One of my favorite pastimes is binge-watching YouTube videos. Each time I find a YouTuber who catches my attention I always come back to the same question: how? I mean seriously, every time I attempt to make the simplest of videos it becomes an all-day project. And to make matters worse it always feels forced and I choke.

So seeking some expert advice, I asked Sam for a few tips to improve my video making skills. This is what he sent for Bold Blind Beauty readers. Enjoy!

Thank you Sam!

3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers Featured Image Description:

Still photo from the video of Sam holding his “Hey! I’m Walkin’ Here” Bold Blind Beauty coffee mug.

Additional Images:

  • Smashing Libby is decked out in Checkered Eye gear. Creative that she is, Libby made her entire outfit. From her checkered witch hat inspired headwear to her black and white checkered skirt, she looks amazing. Oh and I almost forgot she is also wearing checkered high heels.
  • Plane Pulling Team is a photo of a number of people holding onto the rope pulling the plane.
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Plane Pulling For Sight

Plane Pulling For Sight featured image description is in the body of the post.

Plane Pulling For Sight

Partially Sighted Grandmother To Single-Handedly Pull 60 Ton Cargo Plane for Sight

1. Plane Pulling For Sight image 1 Libby in Training description is in the body of the post.
1. Libby In Training

Wouldn’t this make an amazing headline? It’s true, my friend Libby Thaw founder of the Checkered Eye Project will attempt to pull a 60-ton cargo jet to support the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

I knew on Sunday that Libby and Sam, creator of The Blind Life, was taping an episode to air. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out this morning, the YouTube video is live! YAY!!

Seeing “The Checkered Eye & Orbis Plane Pull – The Blind Life” when I opened YouTube this morning made my day.

A Little Background

I met Libby almost 10 years ago after I was declared legally blind. At that time, I was still trying to figure out how I was going to move onward with my life. Back then, I wasn’t nearly ready to use a white cane but thanks to the Checkered Eye I felt safe.

Libby was one of the first partially sighted people I met and she was so full of light, life, and love. We immediately hit it off and I became a Champion for the Checkered Eye. As a matter of fact, I hosted Libby when she helped me fundraise for the Pittsburgh VisionWalk. Watching her advocate in person wherever we went was so encouraging to me.

Libby founded the Checkered Eye to increase awareness of low vision. The Checkered Eye is a wearable symbol to indicate the person wearing it can’t see very well. When you have a second take a listen to I’m Doing Fine Libby’s song about low vision.

3. Checkered Eye Symbols & White Canes

What’s This Plane Pulling Gig About?

As advocates, our work is never done. Libby will be raising money for an extremely great cause while also raising awareness on low vision.

My friend Sam, a huge supporter of Orbis, is promoting Libby’s upcoming phenomenal feat and I wanted to do likewise. Orbis Flying Eye Hospital flies to underdeveloped countries to prevent and cure blinding eye conditions. Libby has to raise $2,500 to enter the Plane Pull Event.

2. Check out that bicep image description is in the body of the post.
2. Check Out That Bicep!

Who: Libby Thaw Representing the Checkered Eye Project & Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

What: Plane Pull For Sight

Where: Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Canada

When: Sunday June 9

Why: A dual purpose:

  1. to raise money and awareness to prevent/cure blindness in undeveloped countries
  2. increase awareness about the Checkered Eye Project and low vision

How Can You Help?: Please donate by clicking this link: Plane Pull For Sight and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.

Let’s Pull For Libby

For many of us who live in developed countries, we are fortunate to have access to information and medical treatments to prevent blindness. This is not the case in undeveloped nations. There are many areas of the world where even the basics like eyeglasses, white canes, rehabilitation are not available. Orbis and others like them are working to change this.

Right now Libby has reached 25% of her goal of $2,500. Let’s help her exceed this goal. To join her team and/or donate please visit her page at Pulling A Plane To Help Fight Avoidable Blindness!

Check Out Sam | The Blind Life:

Check Out Libby:

Plane Pulling For Sight Featured Image Description:

Libby is dressed in her Checkered Eye gear while practicing to pull a plane. She’s wearing a white tee with a big Checkered Eye symbol on the back and a smaller one on the front. Her tee is paired with black and white checkered pants.

Additional Images:

  1. Libby In Training. In this photo, Libby is doing the massive tire rope pull training to get in shape for the event.
  2. This photo shows Libby flexing an impressive bicep. And of course, she has a Checkered Eye symbol on her shoulder.
  3. Checkered Eye Symbols & White Canes.

Speaking on behalf of Sam, Libby and me, we THANK YOU for whatever support you can give this awesome cause!

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Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity

Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity featured image description is in the body of the post.

Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity

“Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.”

~Ruben Chavez

Birth of an Advocate

When I was growing up I remember feeling so small, powerless and insignificant. From an early age, kindness, compassion, and more importantly, the need to do the right thing was always important to me. As a child, I wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place. Accomplishing this goal would be a challenge without a roadmap to follow.

One thing I was really good at though was making poor life choices. Bad decisions like turning down a scholarship to marrying quite young and more, became my MO. Depression, poor self-esteem and emptiness derailed me more times than I care to acknowledge. Thankfully, my negativity was balanced by my tenacity and the desire to challenge myself to become more.

At the outset, I had everything against me. I was the product of a broken home, poor, black, female and I had an unhealthy portion of self-hatred. My childhood wasn’t the best and I learned early on that life wasn’t fair and to always be on guard. From my point of view, serious changes were needed but I couldn’t make change happen–I was just a kid. Even so, being a kid I knew injustices when I saw them.

Defining Success

Knowing my personal values were key components for me in becoming an advocate. Long before I worked for one of the “Big Four” accounting firms I defined my success. For me, success was always more than a cushy job, fancy title, or social status. Being able to adapt no matter the circumstances, to me, is a success.

When my three sons were small it was tough being a single parent. It was even tougher working full-time when one son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Looking back now it almost seems like the struggles with my son Devon was a bad dream. Today, Devon is such a joy and he is also a great source of strength to me.

My Three Greatest Accomplishments

  • Raising three sons to adulthood with very few support systems and even less in the way of material things. Adapting by going without became our protocol and we did alright.
  • Advocating for Devon by working with daycare centers and school districts was another full-time job. This meant learning everything I possibly could about special education and spending hours on end communicating with school officials. To this day I still have the 3-inch binder filled with IEPs, transcripts, etc. This doesn’t include the back and forth email communications and phone calls almost on a daily basis.
  • My third greatest accomplishment was advocating for my disabled mother who was denied disability benefits. Her last denial spurred me to begin a massive letter writing campaign to my legislators. The outcome? My mother received disability benefits in a matter of a couple of months.

My greatest achievements have nothing to do with employment, wealth or material things. These successes have everything to do with creating positive change by challenging a system.

Challenging systems or societal norms with a laser-focus to make life a little better for others is who I am. Ultimately it’s my ability to focus, a systematic approach, combined with a thirst for learning; that propelled me into advocacy.

Coming To Terms With Who I Am

As a die-hard introvert, my most comfortable place of residence aside from being at home is inside my head. While sometimes being inside my head can be a scary place to be it’s also where the magic happens. Ideas and dreams of a world where people of all abilities embrace one another despite our differences are my passion. Having respect for other’s opinions and being open to the idea that every person has a unique walk in life has expanded my world.

For so many years I tried to figure out who I am and what my purpose is only to find I’d been living it all along. Sure I made many mistakes and I think the greatest was not listening to my gut because I wanted to fit in. Today, I’m no longer concerned with conformity and I’ve found contentment.

Terms others placed on me like a buzzkill, intense, and quirky, used to bother me but no more. I am all of these things and more and it’s okay. While I’m not sentimental I find gratitude in the smallest of things.

It’s no accident I’m an advocate, after all, I’ve tried to pattern my life after my favorite childhood quote. This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson remains my favorite today:

Do not go where the path may leadgo instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Never in a million years would I have imagined I’d lose my sight. Learning to navigate the world with a white cane and adjust to blindness is an ongoing process. However, my life is so much more enriched largely due to advocacy and empowering others.

Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity Featured Image Description:

I’m wearing white jeans with a gray Steeler tee with our black and gold team colors. I’m standing in grass with a tree behind me wearing tan flats and of course my color coordinated gold #WhiteCane slimline cane.

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Managing Social Anxiety & Sight Loss

Managing Social Anxiety & Sight Loss

While appearing confident is important it’s more important to articulate what our needs are. Because I appear as if I’m in control people forget I can’t see and sometimes this hurts more than helps. I think part of my struggle here is the delicate balancing act of being confident yet knowing when to request assistance.

Bold Blind Beauty

These Four Walls

Recently I’ve talked with several of my blind & visually impaired friends about managing social anxiety and blindness. For many reasons, anxiety, as it relates to our sight loss, is a topic we don’t talk about frequently. On a personal level, one of my reasons is simply the fear of my fear. I feel like if I talk about it all the scary things in my mind they will come into existence. So how do I handle social anxiety and sight loss? The easy answer is I fake it.

Truth be told I’ve always lived with social anxiety and my blindness kicks it up several notches. A panic attack always lurks just beneath the surface whenever I’m in unfamiliar or heavily populated open spaces.

When you can only see blurry shapes, colors, and movement, it’s not ideal. Adding noise to this equation can overwhelm my senses compounding the anxiety. For example in a shopping mall environment, the expectation would be humans and service animals here and there. Without any central vision, I cannot see fine details so people’s faces are nonexistent. Whenever my grown children come by they have to identify themselves so I know who they are. So imagine being in unfamiliar territory with unknown people—no one stands out even people I know.

While being within the confines of my home makes me feel safer than anywhere else there are some challenges. When I’m home alone I know exactly where everything is, on the flipside when my son and grandson are here it can be chaotic. I rely on everything being in its place but when you share living space, there are bound to be problems.

The Moment Of Truth

Since retiring several years ago, my life mainly revolves around being at home on my computer. Blogging and social media have given me an outlet to connect with and live life vicariously through others. Even so, there is the inevitable grocery store run, doctor’s visit, or an occasional special outing that requires leaving home. Then there’s the dog.

As an animal lover and dog owner, it’s my responsibility to walk my Mollie. One would think that since I’m familiar with the area where I live this would be an easy thing to do right? Nah, it’s not that simple. See I live in a condominium complex without sidewalks which means I have to be constantly alert. In addition, I cannot use my cane when walking Mollie which makes me more vulnerable as drivers don’t know I can’t see. Many of my neighbors also don’t know I can’t see because I guard my privacy—so there’s that.

Today was a minor turning point for me as I admitted my fear and pushed through anyway. The first day at a new gym can be a little unsettling to anyone I suppose. For me, I was downright terrified but I’d put it off long enough and decided to be honest.

Because I’d called in advance the facility was expecting me but I opted not to disclose my disability until in person. With white cane in hand, I followed my son into the building. Once inside I met Tammy, the owner of the gym. I briefly explained my fears and she immediately put me at ease. She explained the gym’s offerings and told me she’d create a workout plan for me in large print. I was over the moon and may for the first time ever, take a couple of classes.

Lessons Learned

Today was a very good day. Was I still anxious? You bet I was! But being upfront with Tammy about my blindness and explaining what I can and cannot see helped her to help me. For far too long I let my fear control me and was afraid of being vulnerable, judged and appearing foolish.

I also think that while appearing confident is important it’s more important to articulate what our needs are. Because I appear as if I’m in control people forget I can’t see and sometimes this hurts more than helps. I think part of my struggle here is the delicate balancing act of being confident yet knowing when to request assistance.
Since empowerment is a key component of Bold Blind Beauty I sometimes feel torn about admitting my perceived flaws. Then there’s another part of me who understands that real empowerment and confidence comes from knowing when to seek help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.

My anxiety like my blindness is a part of me and will more than likely remain with me until my last breath. I do have a few additional tips that I’ll share at a later date. For now, though, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you ever talk about your fears?

Managing Social Anxiety & Sight Loss Image Descriptions:

The featured image, as well as the gallery of three photos, are of me on the treadmill. I’m wearing navy exercise capris, teal tank top, teal & navy sneakers and navy knotted head scarf.